Teenage nose piercing, Jewish tradition create parenting dilemma
Adornment or mutilation: The teenage wish for a nose piercing has one mother caught in a parenting dilemma as she and her husband try to balance the desires of their 16-year-old daughter with the guidelines of their Jewish traditions – and, maybe a little squeamishness.
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Anna did her homework. She found a reputable piercing/tattoo parlor to do the deed. Yes, piercings and tattoos seem to go hand in hand. But I don’t care how old my kids are, tattoos are not on the table at any age. Besides, tattooing one’s body is explicitly forbidden in Jewish law.Skip to next paragraph
Judy Bolton-Fasman is an award-winning writer who writes about parenting and family life for the NYT Motherlode Blog and the Jewish Advocate. Judy's work has appeared in The New York Times, the Boston Globe and O Magazine. She is writing a family memoir and blogs at The Judy Chronicles. She lives outside of Boston with her husband, daughter, and son.
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The place that I’ll call I’m Piercing Your Daughter, Inc., looked reputable from its Web site. It had been in business for more than a decade and had taken pains to emphasize that everything – needles, studs, gauze – was completely sterilized and disposable. I have to confess that I was feeling more and more nervous as Anna’s appointment drew closer.
The waiting room at I’m Piercing Your Daughter didn’t do much to put me at ease. It was decorated with scary wooden masks that sported creative ways to pierce the face. But at least I sat. Ken paced. Anna was too excited to notice anything. The song “Super Freak” was playing overhead. (I swear I’m not making any of this up.)
Owen, who was a walking advertisement for his profession, beckoned us into a private treatment room and carefully explained what he was going to do to our daughter’s nose. He was gentle and understanding as well as tattooed and pierced on every part of his body that was exposed to us. In addition to having his own nose pierced in a couple of places, he had a nose bullring. Yes, his septum was pierced. I caught Ken staring.
Nose piercing is a quick, simple and relatively painless procedure. It took longer for all of us to take our places in the small room and still be able to hold hands. Anna held Ken’s hand, and Ken held my hand. Owen pierced. Anna smiled. Ken flinched. And I realized I didn’t have what it takes to get my nose pierced after all.
Owen gave Anna a sheet outlining care instructions that she taped to her bathroom mirror. And the fallout? Not much to speak of. I’m hailed as a cooler than cool mom, and Anna is the ultimate hipster, especially when she wears her black-framed reading glasses. As for Ken, he’s secure in the knowledge that if Anna’s nose stud is removed, the hole will close up in less than a day.
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. Judy Bolton-Fasman blogs at The Judy Chronicles.